Quick & Easy: 5 Ingredient Pasta Dinner

Healthy, quick, easy & budget friendly. This pasta dish is filling. Perfect to spice up your dinner table.

Light up the sky.Lately, I have not been in the mood to cook. My bank account is not thanking me for the takeout I’ve been ordering this past month and a half (it’s partly due to a concussion, so I don’t feel too bad being lazy).

To rectify my bad habits, I’m trying to cook more, taking these three four words into consideration: quick, easy & budget friendly.

I had a lot of these item’s on hand, which made my trip to the store almost unnecessary. Most of the time I cook dairy free, gluten free and red meat free. This pasta hit all those marks!

What I had in my cupboard/freezer:

  • 1/2 box Banza Penne (chickpea) pasta
  • 1 lb turkey burger
  • Pre-chopped (frozen) sweet onions*
  • Pre-chopped (frozen) red & green bell pepper mix**

What I picked up at the store:

DIRECTIONS

I simply cooked 1/2 of the Banza pasta; however, I did brown all the turkey burger and use the entire can of pasta sauce. After I had browned my turkey burger I threw in maybe 1/4 cup of the pre-chopped onion and maybe 1/2 cup of the red & green bell peppers. After the peppers and onion had heated up, I added the pasta sauce and stirred until simmer.

I made three servings of pasta, one (probably oversized) serving to eat after I made it and two servings that went into microwavable containers for the rest of the week. The remainder of the meat sauce went into the freezer, which will provide 2-3 meals once I cook more pasta.

The Organic Arrabiata Pasta Sauce was amazing. The reason I chose it was because the front of the jar said “made with a spicy blend of tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil & spices. I am a sucker for spicy food-the pasta was chunky, hardy and filling.

*I like to cook pre-chopped onions in my freezer, you can buy them in the freezer section, but I find it just as easy to chop up leftover onion after I cook something that requires a fresh onion. I simply chuck it up, throw it in my food processor and put the chopped onion in a freezer zip-lock bag. 

**After making a few gluten-free pizzas from scratch (which I then cut into servings and froze), I had leftover red and green bell peppers, like my onions I chopped them up and threw them in a freezer bag. Note: I keep these chunks a bit bigger (I don’t put them in the food processor).

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“Welcome to New York”

NYE in NYC! What more could a girl ask for?

If there is one thing in life that gets better with age, it’s adventure. I’ve learned that as I grow older and experience more, I’ve begun to value my time and adventures more.

My New York adventure didn’t necessarily begin the way I expected it to, but what fun is an adventure without a bit of challenge?

I found myself sick two days before my good friend, Lindsay and I left for NYC.

We began planning to take a trip to New York for New Years Eve in July. Our literary had us departing the Wednesday after Christmas, the 28th and returning on Monday the second of January.

Wednesday, December 28

Upon arriving in NYC, after blasting Taylor Swift’s iconic song, “Welcome to New York” on our bus ride from Laguardia to the Upper West Side, Lindsay and I dropped our bags and hit Central Park after first grabbing a slice.

Out hostel was located on the Upper West Side right near the red line for the subway, which provided easy access for the majority of the city.

We killed our feet as we made our way across the park to the Upper East Side and down fifth avenue. We then caught our first glimpse fo the Christmas Tree in Rockafeller Plaza. We called it an evening after eating some Mexican Cusine and walked back to out hostel.

We had to stop on the steps of THE MET to harness our inner Serena and Blair. Gossip Girl, anyone? Final thought: THE MET steps are much more crowded than you expect.

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Meet me at The Met.

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When on 5th, stop and get a cup of joe at Ralph’s! Great atmosphere on a cold day!

Thursday, December 29

We were on our feet, even more, Thursday than we were Wednesday. We played up our tourist roles and headed to the Today Show bright and early!

While at the Today Show, we were an option to be on a segment. Unfortunately that didn’t pan out; however, the lovely production assistant who inquired about our pop culture knowledge gave use “Today Show” mugs as a consolation gift!

The early hour also provided for some beautiful, uninterrupted and up close views of the city.

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Good Morning New York!

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For example, the Rockafeller tree!

We followed up our long morning with brunch before heading back to our hostel for naps.

After our naps, we headed to the Guggenheim, where we were immersed into a modern art feature of grids. Hello graph paper!

We followed up the Guggenheim with some greek dinner then headed to “Holiday Inn,” where we found our inner middle school fangirls watching Corbin Bleu on Broadway!

Friday, December 30

Another day of dead feet awaited us! We started our morning in Times Square and followed it up with some epic window shopping on Fifth Avenue!

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Is it 'time' for a New Year yet? #timessquare

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We hit up all the Gossip Girl faves; Sacks, Bendel’s and Bergdorf’s. After a quick lunch more shopping commenced, then we headed to Soho for some 10 Below Icecream.

We kept on the orange line after our treat and found ourselves in Brooklyn, where we experienced being cat called and purred at. You experience something new every day, especially in the great city of New York!

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And they say, "Oh the places you'll go."

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On our way back into the city we made our way around some of the famous buildings, the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, and the Flatiron Building. We grabbed some Halal food from a cart on the way back to the hostel before a quick wardrobe, as we had tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln Center.

Saturday, December 31

We began our Saturday a little later in the morning than the previous few days. After a delicious breakfast at Broadway Begel, we arrived in Times Square around 10:20 a.m. After standing for a while and assessing the situation, we found ourselves in a compacted crowd trying to get into a barricaded area. From that point on, we were on our feet. The official celebration ended around 12:30 a.m. The day was spent standing next to 1 million of our closest friends in Times Square. We saw everything from Joe Jonas’ sound check to Mariah Carey’s epic failure live.

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We've made it big!

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We even made our way onto a big screen!

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Soon it will be 2017! #nye

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Although it was A LOT OF STANDING, we made some interesting friends and had a good time. If you ever feel the need to stand in Times Square for 14 hours on New Year’s Eve, we’ve got some advice for you!

Sunday, January 1

After some much-needed sleeping in, we made our way to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was a beautiful mass, which we followed with lunch, some walking on the Upper West Side and a visit to the Natural History Museum.

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Sometimes you just "crack" up and can't help it!

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“Night at the Museum” anyone?

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I'm ready for my own "Night at the Museum."

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Dum Dum, Gum Gum; my Easter Isand friend made the visit worth it, and the minerals area! So much emotion over calcite!!!

We ended our last night in NYC with the best views of the city at Top of The Rock, which we followed with some late night Cheesy Pizza 🙂

Monday, January 2

Time in one of my new favorite places was drawing near, with an early evening flight upon us. To finish out our time in the city we visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was a sombeirng experience to end our trip.

This was an event we still cannot decide if you should put it at the beginning or end of your trip. If I remember correctly, we were there for 5 hours and still left feeling like we missed a lot inside the museum section.

On one hand, we suggest you go at the beginning of your trip so you can experience it without the fatigue of your trip falling on your shoulders, yet it was so somber that it felt right to leave the city knowing and feeling a little more of its history.

Final Thoughts

Some wishes: I wish I could have been there longer, yet the amount of time we were there seemed like just the right amount. I wish I was better at journaling my travels and experiences so I could more accurately report on our daily activities, and I wish I would have had the foresight to wear some type of moon/hiking boots during out New Year’s Eve night.

NYC was great! I can’t wait to go back! Maybe even live there for a while, who knows!

 

 

It’s Simple

We all dream of being effortless. I am not.

We all dream of putting forth that effortless front. We want to make our lives seem utterly effortless in every way. Whether it is the way we dress, style our hair or do our everyday work; there is some force telling us to show effortless perfection.

I have friends who exemplify this effortlessness. I do not. I am constantly falling up the stairs, locking myself out and creating stains on all my clothes, but it is okay. Through a few trials and a lot of ups and downs, I have come to the realization that being perfect and effortless is not the goal.

The goal is to be happy with yourself and where you are.

Am I content with my innate ability to spill whatever I am drinking on myself? Not really, nor am I happy with my indecisiveness; however, I see my utter ability to mess up a lot as slightly motivating.

Being a bit crazy and not together is okay, but it motivates me to get my life together in other ways. So let’s see where this goes. Where will my crazy, indecisive brain take me? Right now I’m okay not knowing, but I sure am excited to find out.